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[It’s traumatic for escorts to end up] face to face with a [cop] who wants to know your name and question you and detain you until he can establish that you’re not a victim of whatever exploitation that he’s imagining you’re a victim of.  –  Sandra Wesley

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

…a recent study on unprotected sex…had some sobering results: Of the 1000 Americans surveyed, 65.5 percent said they had unprotected sex—and 29.1 percent of those people said they had unprotected sex every single time…68.4 percent never ask their partners if they’ve been tested before [barebacking] with them…many [supposed adults]…said they were daunted by the idea of asking a partner to fetch one in the heat of the moment…One friend told me she was too insecure to ask for anything when she first started having sex…”I couldn’t imagine messing it up by asking them to wear a condom because then they might not think I was sexy or cool anymore”…

To me, the first part – in which the author actually admits she planned to have sex with a penniless liar she didn’t know who didn’t even have a bed of his own, much less any cash to give her – reads like a dispatch from an alien world.

Whorearchy

Though this article is mostly about the word “hooker” itself, it contains this choice example of whorearchy from an empty-headed little twit in Nevada:

“I call myself a legal courtesan,” says Allissa…She works at Sheri’s Ranch…in Pahrump, Nevada…A “hooker,” she says, is “someone that’s being managed by a pimp [just like Allissa is], is on the street, is making money any way they can.”  By contrast, she says, she’s a [pimped] professional.  “Everything we do is legal…Condoms are mandatory [and pimp-enforced].  We have strict rules [set by pimps] to abide by.  And we also pay taxes”…

So in Allissa’s tiny mind, a “courtesan” is a hooker whose pimp has a LICENSE, so it’s different.  One wonders what she thinks (and I use the term loosely) about independents like me.  Another highlights of the article: vile excuse for a human being Dennis Hof, who claims to be a libertarian, praising Donald Trump.

Skin To Skin

Not a bad article on the benefits of sex work for the disabled:

People with disabilities still face social stigma and isolation when it comes to intimacy…EASE Canada founder Dave Symington [said] “It’s the hidden disabilities that seem to be more troubling in society…People…really struggle with mental health issues”…Symington has heard again and again how interacting with a sex worker…completely changes their capability for creating and maintaining intimate relationships…Some countries have already taken the step toward covering sex work for those with disabilities.  People in the Netherlands…can use their disability benefits however they like, including purchasing sex…

Policing for Profit

Cops have almost completely abandoned the pretense that this is about anything other than profit:

…South Carolina police agencies raked in $4.3 million through federal forfeitures in the 2015 budget year, and slightly more the year before that.  Every year in Spartanburg County, the Sheriff’s Office organizes a week-long [shakedown racket] on Interstates 26 and 85 involving multiple local and federal agencies.  They call it “Rolling Thunder”…[this year the thugs] pulled over 1,110 motorists — the majority of whom were black or Hispanic — mostly for infractions such as making improper lane changes or following too closely…[and] searched 158 vehicles, including large tour buses…[they stole over] $139,320 in cash…State laws typically set a higher burden than the federal government for seizing assets…But police can still tap into the federal forfeiture rules…Less than 4 miles of I-95 runs through the small…town [of Ridgeland, but]…that little stretch of interstate has been a [porcine] cash machine.  Ridgeland’s population is only about 5,000, “if you count the prison”…but police there have [stolen] more than $6 million…since 2002…

Whither Canada?

Articles like this are much more common in the Canadian press:

…For 13 years, we at SWAN…have been supporting migrant and immigrant women who do sex work in Metro Vancouver…Despite the preponderance of ads advertising sexual services of 20-somethings, the average age of the women we support is 40.  Over the past few years, there has been a war against online classified-ad websites such as Backpage that carry sex workers’ ads.  While this war started in the United States, it has crept across the border to Canada…But one perspective is consistently missing: that of the sex worker exercising agency and using the Internet as a safety tool…The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act introduced in 2014 criminalized third-party advertisers like Backpage, although few charges have been laid to date.  Shortly after the law came into force, many websites imposed stricter posting criteria for adult-oriented ads, banning the use of sexual terminology.  This prevents sex workers from clearly communicating in their ads what services they provide…The ban on advertising violates sex workers’ rights to personal security and freedom of expression.  Canada does not need legislation that inhibits communication between sex workers and their clients and impedes sex workers from working independently indoors…

New Excuse

Even mainstream websites are beginning to recognize that the War on Whores is the new War on Drugs:

…U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a gathering of more than 1,500 federal, state, and local [pigs]…that he was…”mak[ing] the fight against child exploitation and human trafficking a top priority”…Sessions warned of the dangers of…encrypted-communication platforms, social-networking sites, and “the so-called Darknet.”  These, he declared, are the tools of such “depraved people” as “child pornographers, sextortionists, and human traffickers”…Even the aggressively neutral Politico couldn’t avoid making drug war comparisons, describing the video as “hearkening back to the D.A.R.E era” with its “hyperbolic language”…The idea that every American child is just one smartphone app away from being snatched into sex slavery is absurd…But it does make a nice narrative if you want to wage war on pesky encrypted technologies that thwart [cops]…or to get everyone from flight attendants to truck drivers telling federal agents about anyone “suspicious”…

The Mote and the Beam (#510)

It just keeps getting worse:

So far this year, federal lawmakers have introduced more than 30 bills related to “sex trafficking,” which many in government now define to mean all prostitution…following the familiar pattern of the drug war, these measures mostly focus on giving federal law enforcement more “tools” to find, prosecute, and punish people for [consensual] actions…One…would expand state and local government authority “to seek wiretap warrants in sexual exploitation and prostitution cases” (emphasis mine) and mandate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute of Justice conduct a “study on the long-term physical and psychological effects of the commercial sex trade”…law enforcement across the land…[would be required to] target prostitution customers [under the pretense that purchasing sex]…”is a form of gender-based violence,” opening the way for possible hate-crime enhancements for anyone who tries to pay for sex…

Little Boxes (#576)

I’m not a lawyer, but I doubt saying “there is no constitutional right to” whatever you’re trying to ban in the text of a law banning it actually carries any legal weight:

[The] Ocean City…[Maryland] Town Council…prohibited women appearing topless on the beach during an emergency session…The newly refined ordinance states “there is no constitutional right for an individual to appear in public…in a state of nudity”.  The…unanimously passed…ordinance took effect immediately, clarifying that anyone showing “the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering,” would be…subject to a fine of up to $1,000.  Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan said the emergency ordinance was a response to “hundreds of calls and emails from residents and visitors, expressing their concerns over this issue…Each year, thousands of families visit our beach to relax in an atmosphere free of this type of activity”…A town spokesperson [imagined] that the ordinance would have no bearing on breastfeeding…

I’m not sure what’s stupider, the idea that there could ever be such a thing as a visible-tit emergency, or the one that a gland specifically activated during motherhood is somehow anti-family.  See also clauses purporting to prevent a law from ever being amended, repealed or judicially reviewed; politicians are totally losing their minds over sex.

Teacher’s Pet

Remember how I said that, for a celebrity sex worker like me, mentoring young sex worker groupies was much too dangerous because it could open me up to “sex trafficking” charges?

Schwesta Ewa, a Polish-born musician whose [legal] name is Ewa Müller, allegedly “compelled” four fans, aged 17 to 19, to [do sex work]…between November 2015 and September 2016…Prosecutors [claim] Müller did not tell tax authorities about profits she made from the fans, and that she forced them into the work through violence.  Müller…worked as a prostitute before she was famous.  Her lyrics often tell stories about life in the sex trade, including being attacked by clients…Müller opened a bar in Frankfurt, but complained in January 2016 that police had raided it…

Pimps Ahoy 

Another rescue industry character claiming to have been a “sex trafficker”.  It’s an exhaustingly-long masturbatory fantasy for the “sex trafficking” set, full of “pimps”, misstated laws, “gangs”, 30 inhuman clients a night, Pretty Woman idiocy, etc, etc, leading up to this: “Mary knew that deep inside she and her girls were suffering and lost.  Amid the stream of [extremely high income]…the women battled drug addictions, alcoholism and ever-creeping levels of self-loathing and emptiness“…until a new friend “offered to study the Bible with Mary” and Jesus saved her.  Does anyone who isn’t already a Christian actually believe this pap?

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#692)

Anybody who thinks this machine “moves like a real human” really needs to hire a pro immediately:

…The Service Droid (now a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo) started life as a personal project by Arlan Robotics…the company claim to have created…an incredibly realistic droid that when assembled looks, smells, feels and moves like a real human…

Lying Down With Dogs (#708)

More on the maltreatment of sex workers in another large police state:

During the celebration of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg in May 2003, the police raided brothels…[and] booked fake appointments with sex workers…They…drove the street-based sex workers 200 km away from the center and left them there….[as] part of…operations to “clean” the city for the celebration.  Raids against sex workers are carried out on a daily basis in Russia.  On the eve of some important events…the police intensify raids…The Russian ‘foreign agent’ law, introduced in 2012, puts [the sex worker rights group] Silver Rose under the constant threat of prohibition.  The law authorises the Ministry of Justice to register independent groups as “foreign agents” without their consent…if the ministry regards the organisations as engaged in “political activity”…NGOs [so designated] are sometimes raided by state officials…

Broken Record (#742) 

Prohibitionists’ lies are never more blatant than when they claim to be quoting sex workers, but say the exact opposite of the truth:

There seems to be no hard evidence that Montreal’s Grand Prix is more of a prostitution-and-human-trafficking hotbed than other big events…an anti-prostitution group [claims] anecdotal evidence indicates demand for paid sex soars with the influx of Formula One fans…[prohibitionist] Diane Matte [lies]…“We also know from women we meet…that during…any…big sports event…women are solicited more, they are told [by imaginary pimps] to work longer hours to answer the needs of men who buy sex”…[but] Chez Stella, which runs a drop-in centre and medical clinic for sex workers, has launched a social-media campaign to denounce Grand Prix “disinformation campaigns” by governments and prostitution [prohib]itionists…Police…place fake ads on online classified sites…That makes clients reluctant to negotiate details before meeting…Afraid of police, some workers don’t provide services during the Grand Prix, “so they’re desperate for money the rest of the month and may take on clients they wouldn’t otherwise take on; they might deviate from normal safety measures and face more violence”…[Sandra] Wesley [of Chez Stella] said…“those men are at the race track during the day.  At night, they’re at parties with lots of women willing to have sex for free.  So where would they be seeing all these sex workers?”…

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Being lonely is hardly a crime.  –  Jake Adelstein

The Rescuers 

Harassing streetwalkers to scare away their clients has become a popular rescue industry pastime:

Friday afternoon, a group called “Code Red” gathered their efforts to stop prostitution throughout the Bay Area and across the country.  “We love people and we know sometimes you just have to keep working and working because they are going to come,” said Sylvia Vigil, who…spent hours out on the streets of Oakland looking for sex workers.  She says she saw ten girls out there and tried to reach as many of them as she could…The girls were all invited to a special dinner Friday night and from there Operation Code Red will offer them places to stay in recovery homes.

“Love” = “pathologically need to control”.  “Reach” = “steal income from”. “All invited…offer them places” = the girls were all too smart to walk into that trap, so nobody actually showed up.

It Looks Good On Paper

Another story credulously touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

Ohio…Senate Bill 4…would allow trafficking victims to apply to have records removed of some guilty convictions, dismissed charges or findings of not guilty…prosecuting attorneys…successfully pushed for changes that require the person seeking expungement of…felonies to [somehow] prove the degree of duress they were under…

Surplus Women 

Cops threaten and harass sex workers, yet believe we’ll come to them when we need help:  “…a prostitute was found stabbed to death in her north London flat…[on] May 29…Detectives have warned other sex workers in the capital to be “extra vigilant” as they hunt the killer…

Elephant in the Parlor 

Quite possibly the most ridiculous excuse any politician has ever used:

On May 22, the Yomiuri Shimbun…alleged that [Japanese politician Kihei] Maekawa frequented a shady dating bar…for a few years until around the end of last year.  The article implied that many of the women who come to the bar…offer sex for money…At a news conference on May 25, Maekawa admitted he used to go to a dating bar but said he went there to talk to the women and learn about poverty in the country…after watching a TV documentary that said many women going to such bars are barely getting by.  “Sometimes I had meals with women and gave them some pocket money,” Maekawa said.  “Talking to them, I have learned that child poverty is connected to the poverty of women”…

Can we please all grow up now and recognize that it’s not merely normal but common for men to pay for sex, and that many women accept money for sex either directly or indirectly?

Welcome To Our World (#15)

Another rape victim caged to force her participation in the state’s morality play:

…in June 2015, Angela Cardinal was led into an Edmonton courtroom handcuffed and in leg shackles…She was not the accused, but rather a victim — called to testify at a preliminary hearing after she was savagely attacked and sexually assaulted by a notorious sexual predator…Cardinal was forced to spend a total of five nights in [jail]…during her testimony…Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley was appalled when…told…of Cardinal’s treatment…she has…formed a special committee to look at the case to review policies, with an eye to making what she calls “aggressive changes”…

Bottleneck 

No, they aren’t “forced” to work without a license; in every place where sex work is legalized, the vast majority prefer not to be registered by politicians and “supervised” by pigs.  Just look at the headline and tone of this article and you may understand why:

In Singapore, prostitution is legal, but [related activities are not]…The government regulates prostitution…but nevertheless illegal sex workers saturate the industry…There are an estimated 1,000…licensed sex workers in Singapore…Yet thousands more choose – or are forced – to work without a license.  Unable to access the same protection the state offers licensed workers, illegal sex workers will either work from massage or beauty parlours or…set up a profile online…Dr. Thein Than Win explains, “In the licensed brothels, everything is in place: mandatory health screenings, condoms.  But for the illegal sex workers…there are no [compulsory government-ordained restrictions]…As police stepped up their efforts by increasing surveillance…and…lawmakers [banned online advertising]…sex workers used websites hosted outside of Singapore to circumvent it…

Pyrrhic Victory (#139)

Some readers implied I was a crank when I predicted this exact development four years ago:

After the Freddie Gray riots in 2015, Baltimore residents began noticing small planes circling the city.  As reporters later uncovered, Baltimore Police had quietly begun using a “wide-area surveillance” system, which deploys Cessna planes to constantly record the movements of an entire metro area.  Police never bothered to tell the public they were using the invasive technology, which had been developed by the U.S. Air Force…Now Miami-Dade Police are quietly trying to deploy the same system.  In a county document posted online Tuesday, MDPD revealed the force has applied for Department of Justice funds to begin using wide-area surveillance (WAS) tools throughout the county…Civil liberty groups say they have major concerns about police using such a system, especially without telling the public about it…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

I’m surprised this has taken so long to catch on, given the considerable overlap between anti-whore & anti-abortion busybodies:

There are only 13 states in the U.S. where it is possible for a minor to obtain an abortion without either notifying or explicitly receiving permission from either one or both parents.  For those who get pregnant in such states there is the option of continuing the pregnancy, finding a judge…willing to grant a judicial bypass…or [traveling]…to one of the few states that allows minors unrestricted…abortion…In 2006…the Child Custody Protection Act was proposed…[to make] crossing the borders a crime…it…died in committee a few times since then, but now it has once more reared its head…Ohio Senator Rob Portman reintroduced the Child Custody Protection Act in May, putting the restriction back on the table as a means of allegedly combating human sex trafficking.  “Human traffickers and child molesters don’t want parents involved in abortion decisions, so they take underage girls across state lines for abortions to avoid laws in the victim’s home state,” writes the conservative news site OneNewsNow

Are you satisfied, feminists?  Helping the anti-sex loons spread their “sex trafficking” myth sure was a good strategy, wasn’t it?

Soap Opera (#553) 

I wonder where Theresa Flores will get a real job once “sex trafficking” hysteria collapses?

…Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution…gathered a couple of dozen volunteers in Arlington, Virginia…to…deliver…[bars of magic anti-pimp soap] to hotels and motels around the D.C. Metro area…S.O.A.P. Founder Theresa Flores [claims she] recently received a text message from someone…[who was saved by] one of these [soap bars]…The volunteers…also gave…hotels…a list of warning signs for desk clerks to watch out for, and also photos of missing girls…Flores [also claimed she happened to be] around when a photo of a missing girl put in the hands of a desk clerk [happened to be someone in the hotel that specific clerk had checked in]…

Flores’ entire shtick derives from TV cop shows, right down to the convenient coincidences.

What Were You All Waiting For? 

The ACLU still has a long way to go if it wants to help sex workers:

…For sex workers…[prohibitionists’] view of “help” is paternalistic.  Most of us probably don’t think much about sex workers, and when we do, we tend to immediately assume the worst stereotypes…Criminalizing sex work just allows the dark side to flourish.  When sex-work is driven underground, victims of violence and exploitation feel the need to hide…Sex workers facing criminal sanction are less likely to report rape and violence committed by their customers, and they are more likely to take risks like unprotected sex when they operate entirely outside the law.  If we were really concerned with protecting [those]…who engage in sex work, we would set up a legitimate legal framework in which they could operate…

Eli Baumwell clearly needs some education; legalization (which is what he’s advocating here) doesn’t really work because in the same paternalism he himself says doesn’t work, and the chief danger we face isn’t violent customers but violent cops who lose no power over sex workers under the legalization model he’s advocating.  But this very flawed effort is still better than the ACLU’s long silence on sex worker rights.

Full of Themselves (#650)

Massage parlor licensing is widely touted as a way to “fight prostitution”; let’s see how that actually works:

Last month, Venice [Florida] police arrested three women for prostitution after raiding three massage parlors…[all three] still have “clear and active” massage therapy licenses issued by the DOH…all three have prior histories of prostitution arrests or convictions…Spotty enforcement and regulation of sex crimes in the massage profession happen all the time…Until 2015, the DOH operated on the honor system by requiring massage therapists to report their own arrests.  Now there is fingerprinting, that in theory, will automatically catch arrests of licensees for prostitution and other crimes…[the DOH] insists the state’s $6.5 million a year massage regulatory program that You Paid For is doing well…

I love it when authoritarian busybodies feed on each other.

Storyville (#697)

Some parts of the American west tolerated prostitution long after it was criminalized in the rest of Puritanland:

…When the discovery of gold and silver turned [Wallace, Idaho]…into the center of the mining universe, men moved [there]…by the thousands…Dr. Heather Branstetter….has literally written the book on the history of the sex trade here…”The madams contributed so much in anonymous ways that people don’t know about,” Dr. Brantsetter explained.  “They would leave money at the grocery store for people who couldn’t afford food.”  Many in Wallace say they don’t remember ever having to do a school fundraiser; what they needed was always provided.  In 1972, the state of Idaho no longer allowed cities to legalize prostitution.  But…in Wallace, it was [tolerated as long as] madams…follow[ed police] regulations, like not hiring local girls and keeping the women off the streets in their off hours.  But, over time, the [mining] industry declined.  By the mid-1980’s, only a few houses were left.  The AIDS epidemic…shut down [the last one]…in 1988…

The Widening Gyre (#738)

Still more infantilization of migrant Nigerian sex workers:

Although no fewer than 1, 594 illegal migrants from Nigeria have so far returned from Libya from January through May this year, many more are still stranded outside the country, having been deceived of a better life by traffickers, so said a representative from International Organisation for Migration (IOM)…Dr. Nahashon Thuo…Mrs. Winnie Aideyan, said…“There is nothing wrong with travelling, but people need to travel the correct way.”  Aideyan called on Nigerian youth to stop illegal migration, stressing, “Women need to be empowered so they will not be tempted by these traffickers”…

Because “empowered” women will obey self-appointed nannies and only travel in the “correct”, government-approved way, sitting with folded hands until they get permission. Naturally.

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Diary #362

One might think last week would’ve slowed down after the property closing, in which case one would be wrong; if anything, it got busier after that.  I had a beauty appointment on Wednesday, after which I spent the night with a wonderful & generous gentleman; the next day, Lorelei Rivers came to visit with us, and my gentleman (who is extremely experienced) declared the session absolutely the best sex he’d ever had.  A few months ago an idiot wrote an article for Vice about how awful threesomes are, and I literally laughed; I have no doubt that they can be pretty bad when three incompetent amateurs are involved, but when two are professionals who work extremely well together and the third is an experienced and open-minded man, the results can be pure, unforgettable magic.  You really ought to see for yourself, and if you’re coming to the Seattle area you have no excuse not to ask Rivers & McNeill to provide the experience.  Anyhow, on Friday I had to drive down to pick up my keys, where I was left waiting for an hour by extremely disorganized realtors; I took this selfie while there, and I think you’ll agree the combination of boredom & mild annoyance is pretty clear on my face.

P.S. – Chicago!  It looks like I’ll be visiting from the 21st to the 24th. It’s still tentative but email me ASAP if you want to see me because my availability will be limited.

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I emailed a lady whose ad I found online, asking if she was still in my area; she replied with in a few hours, listing her rates and asking for a 50% deposit for my desired session time.  This was to be paid from a PayPal cash card and she said she would contact me shortly after she  had verified the money to make meeting arraignments.  But she didn’t answer the question I actually asked, whether she still in the area (I’ve noticed some ladies move around a lot).  I used Tineye to look up her pics, but they don’t appear to be stolen.  Does any of this sound like a scam to you?

In a word?  Yeah.  I know that pretty, new girls can be very tempting for guys, especially if they don’t charge much.  But the fact of the matter is, most reputable, dependable escorts these days have an established online presence.  They’ve got their own websites, ads and posts on local escort boards, Twitter accounts and other such signs that they’re real professionals rather than scammers, cops, thieves, amateurs or flakes; in short, they leave footprints online as any real, solid entity would.  I mean, take me for an example; if you Google “Maggie McNeill” you’re going to find my blog, my Twitter, my escort site, YouTube videos, articles, interviews, my book, and even hit-pieces criticizing me…and that’s just on the first page.  Click on “images” and you’ll see over 20 pictures of me (not all of ’em flattering…*sigh*)  Go to my Twitter & you’ll find I’ve been there since December 2011, and that I have over 12,000 followers and over 132,000 tweets.  This blog has existed since July 2010, and I have reviews on ECCIE going back to that same year.  And while I’m an especially-prominent case, even less well-known ladies are going to have something; as a test I just Googled a half-dozen of my friends with the words “Seattle escort” after their names, and every one of them came up with plenty of results, more than enough to convince anyone that these are bona fide sex work professionals rather than who-knows-whats hiding behind fake pictures.  It may be that the lady you contacted is both well-known and well-reviewed, and has a prominent online footprint, but beyond the Tineye search which turned up nothing (which itself seems weird; a Google reverse image search on a few of my pics turned up matches on my website, Twitter & some scraper sites) you don’t seem to have made any effort to check her out, so I can’t say.  But I will say this:  nobody who isn’t well-established can generally ask for deposits and expect to get them, so if your gal is as much of a ghost as she appears to be (and again, I only have your word to go on), she’s either incredibly overconfident or trolling for guys too horny to bother with due diligence.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Getting Started

I am a 24-year old in the US who has been interested in becoming an escort for a while, but I don’t know how to get started.   How does one screen clients to make sure they aren’t dangerous (including cops)?  I see your escort booking form asks for occupation & references, but what if they don’t have them?  When is the appropriate time to talk about what sexual acts they are looking for?  Where is the best place to start advertising?  I just wish I had a step by step guideline.  I wrote to a girl who’s highly reviewed in my area, but the response came from a guy in another state who said he is her “persona management.”  He said that he books her clients, a woman does the screening and, they spend over $3000 per month on advertising for her.  If I were to join they would take a percentage but I would be responsible for getting to all of my appointments.  Have you ever heard of people doing this?

First, absolutely DO NOT make any deals with people you’ve never met.  While there are still agencies, they’re going the way of the dodo in most markets and as a former service owner myself I’m telling you that you don’t need them (especially ones that try to hard sell you from the get-go with fancy talk of thousands of dollars a month in advertising).  Frankly, this sounds to me like a scam, especially since you’re an unproven quantity at this point.  The best thing for you to do (especially now that Backpage is kinda crippled) is to find your local escort boards and join.  If you have a little seed money, it’s a good idea to get some professional pictures right away; if you don’t, find a friend you can trust who takes decent pictures to do your first ones, then after you get a couple of gigs you can hire a pro.  You definitely want to make sure you like the work before you invest too much.  As for screening, references are the best way to go for a beginner; as you go on you’ll talk to other girls and learn more tricks, including whitelists like Date-check and blacklists like Verify Him.  It’s not a good idea to talk explicitly about sexual acts up front; this is partly because of cops, but also because some guys just want to jerk off while talking to you and you don’t want to give them free wanking material.  Please check out my Mentoring tag, and the “Mentoring” section of my FAQ page; there’s a lot of stuff there and I think you’ll find many of the posts useful (including a number of them on screening).  But probably the best all-around advice I can give you is to buy and read Amanda Brooks’ Internet Escorts Handbook; it’s a small investment and you’ll get a lot out of it.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Upscale

What is meant when girls say “upscale”?  Does it have some meaning outside of the donation rates?

minkWhen the word is used to describe an incall, it’s basically intended to assure prospective clients that they aren’t going to a squalid apartment in a seedy neighborhood.  But when words like “upscale”, “high-end”, “luxury”, “sophisticated” and “VIP” are used by escorts to describe themselves, they don’t really mean anything specific or quantifiable; they’re just branding words, used to convey an image and attract the kind of clientele the user believes such words attract:  wealthy, generous, and unlikely to haggle.  Of course, they’re just as likely to attract solidly middle-class guys out to treat themselves to a luxurious experience, which is why soap is described as having “luxurious lather” and chocolates are described as “decadent”.  Personally, I try to avoid empty words like that in my marketing; as a writer I prefer words that actually mean specific things, and distrust emotive words with little semantic weight (especially those that seem a bit snobby to my ears).  In reality, most sex workers will see whichever men can pass screening, pay our rates & treat us properly, “upscale” or not; I doubt very many really care whether a good client is a neurosurgeon or a bricklayer as long as he behaves like a gentleman.  Mind you, I’m not criticizing the ladies who use that kind of ad copy; if it works for them & brings in money, good for them & long may they prosper.  The fact is, some guys respond to “puttin’ on the Ritz” kind of words, just like many of the guys who call me are responding to my perceived intelligence & sophistication.  Or my huge tits.  And we all use the branding that keeps the money coming in.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I’m going to assume most of you, even those with English degrees, are unfamiliar with the term “counter word”.  It’s a linguistic term; a counter word is a word or phrase with no current intrinsic meaning, which is used to signal one’s membership in the in-group who use that word.  “Counter” in this sense means a counter used in a game, such as a poker chip; it has no actual value outside of the game, but it is used to participate in the game.  Two examples from my younger days both came from television commercials for hamburger chains; one was from this 1992 commercial for Rally’s:

The ad was so popular that soon everyone (at least on the Gulf Coast) was running around yelling “Cha-ching!” at every available opportunity.  At first it was mostly used appropriately, as a way of saying something was expensive (“I paid $100 for these sneakers.” “Whoa, cha-ching!”) but it soon turned into an exclamation of victory or appreciation for an insult (something like the way people use “Oh, snap!” now), and within months, due to somehow becoming associated with the New Orleans Saints football team, it meant nothing at all; it was just something people would randomly exclaim to show that they were “cool” and in on the joke.  At the nadir of this absurdity, a local used car dealer actually exclaimed “Cha-ching!” at the end of one of his television commercials, apparently unaware that to anyone who remembered the original ad he was implying that his autos were badly overpriced!  The other example, which perhaps more of you may recognize, was from a 1984 Wendy’s ad:

As with “cha-ching!” it didn’t take “Where’s the beef?” long to go from an expression people used to mean something like, “What’s going on?” or “Are you kidding me?” to signifying nothing more than, “Hey, I’ve heard other people saying this, aren’t I cool?”  This isn’t a phenomenon of my lifetime; soon after the turn of the 20th century the phrase “23 skidoo!” went from meaning something like “let’s make tracks” or “scram!” to meaning, as in the other examples, essentially nothing; it was printed on buttons and pennants and people would shout it at each other in greeting as they did with “Cha-ching” over 80 years later.

If you’re wondering why I’m bringing this up now, it’s because the phrase “human trafficking” has become nothing more than a political counter word.  In the ’90s, it was generally used to mean the smuggling of people across borders in defiance of immigration restrictions, but by the turn of the century governments and anti-immigration groups had subtly twisted it to mean only exploitative smuggling practices (which they of course represented as all of them), and it didn’t take long for the exploitative labor situations migrants often ended up in to be rolled into the term.  Prohibitionists started representing all migrant sex work as a form of “human trafficking”, and the US government soon obligingly negated the agency of all underage sex workers by defining them as “human trafficking victims” whether they actually migrated, were coerced or were treated in any way which could even tangentially intersect the previously-understood meaning of the term “trafficking”.  Certainly, the shift in meaning of the term “drug trafficking” from meaning “drug smuggling” to mere “drug selling” is parallel and probably intertwined with this broadening and thinning of the meaning of “human trafficking”, but the latter became far more nebulous than the former ever did; by 2012 I had identified 23 different meanings of the phrase “human trafficking”, 11 of the phrase “trafficking victim” and 12 of the slur “human trafficker”.  In the past five years those related phrases have become broader and far more vague, and are applied willy-nilly to anyone and anything “authorities” or prohibitionists want to restrict, censor, spy on, interfere in, attempt to ban, or inflict violence upon.

“Human trafficking” (and especially “sex trafficking”) have become nothing but authoritarian counter words; they have lost their original meanings as surely as “23 skidoo” and “Where’s the beef?” did.  I therefore call upon all activists, allies, and well-meaning people in the so-called “anti-trafficking” movement (and yes, there are some, such as GAATW) to stop using the term unless there is no other alternative.  If you mean “exploitative labor conditions”, say that.  If you mean “forced prostitution”, say that.  If you mean “underage survival sex”, say that.  If you mean “smuggling undocumented migrants”, say that.  A phrase used to mean everything means nothing at all, and a phrase that means nothing isn’t a useful term for serious adults; it’s a fad for the immature and silly.

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